Skip to main content

Portrait of Mary Kingsley

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3043T

Scope and Contents

104 x 143 mm. A mounted and framed print. The portrait is a full length studio photograph and shows Mary Kingsley standing beside a stone balustrade against a painted backdrop of gardens and woodland. Also mounted in the frame photograph is a letter from her brother Charles Kingsley to Sir John Smalman Smith dated August 31 1901, presenting him with the portrait and remarking: 'For some reason, she did not care for this portrait but it has always seemed to me to be by far the best one that was ever taken of her'.

Mary Kingsley (1862-1900) was a niece of the novelist Charles Kingsley and daughter of a father who was largely absent travelling the world from one adventure to another. Consequently, the first thirty years of her life were spent nursing her mother. On the death of both her parents in 1892 she decided to travel to West Africa in order to gain material to complete her father's work on the customs and religions of its peoples.

Her first journey lasted from August 1893 until January 1894, during which she visited St. Paul do Loando, Ambriz, Kabinda and Matadi. Her second expedition, from December 1894 until November 1895, took in Old Calabar and explorations up the Ogowe River. While the explicit purpose of the journeys was for study and the collection of fish and insects, their most important fruits were the influence she was to wield in her opinions on the colonization of Africa. The following years were spent in writing and lecturing on the subject and a further visit to West Africa was postponed owing to the outbreak of the Boer War. Mary Kingsley died of enteric fever while nursing Boer prisoners of war at Simon's Town.


  • Creation: 1890 - 1899


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Henry Edmonds Hull was a commercial photographer based in London, England. In 1899 his studio was at 135 Holland Park Avenue. In 1900 he moved to 136 Holland Park Avenue. The studio was still active in 1908.


1 item(s) (1 image)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Good condition apart from slight yellowing.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche numbers 47. CN 333 and CN 1080.


This collection level description was entered by SG using information from the original typescript catalogue.

Date information

DateText: Dated '1890s' in the typescript catalogue..


Hull, Henry Edmonds, fl 1899-1908, photographer

Includes index.
2004-08-11 11:56:42+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom